The Phoenix Coyotes announced last week what had been well-known for some time now: they would soon be no more. Beginning in 2014-15, the team would rise from the ashes like a phoenix, but no longer legally called a phoenix, as they would henceforth be known as the Arizona Coyotes.
The move puts them in line with the other major teams in the state -- the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Arizona Cardinals -- as well as sidesteps the fact that they don't actually play in Phoenix. Furthermore, it symbolizes the end of a long string of legal battles that mired the bankrupt, ownerless Phoenix Coyotes for years.
Well, almost. There is still one final legal battle to go, one final boss. (Like when Scott Pilgrim had to fight NegaScott.)
His name is Tony Fioretto, and he claims to own the trademark on the name "Arizona Coyotes". He registered it with the Arizona Secretary of State's office back in 2010.
Tony Fioretto also has registered other trade names with the state, including Phx Suns, Phx Cardinals, Phx Coyotes and AZ Diamondbacks, according to state records.
Fioretto dropped his state registration for Phoenix Open after the Thunderbirds, hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament, sued him in 2013.
The Thunderbirds have since filed for a federal trademark of the name, which trumps state registration claims.
Hockey officials would not publicly say whether that is their plan as well.
That's right. Tony Fioretto is the sports equivalent of a cyber-squatter, dashing to the state secretary's office to trademark things in the hopes that corporations will have to give him free money. And now he thinks the Coyotes are going to have to buy their new name from him.
Fioretto also attempted to register "Arizona Coyotes" with the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office and they refused his application.
While the Coyotes will claim their business association with the name trumps Fioretto's individual association -- and lack of association with them, or any team of any sort, apart from "Team Tony Gonna Get That Cash", he's pretty sure he's got them dead to rights.
“I did everything legally,” he told The Republic. “These were things that were part of my master plan."
Yes. He actually said master plan. It's all coming to fruition. No word on whether he twirled a mustache after saying it, or laughed manically while petting a smug, equally evil cat.
Anyway. While it would be amazing to see some guy named Tony Fioretto take down an organization that just beat bankruptcy and the Glendale City Council, something tells me he's going to lose.